Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Day In The Life Of A Working Writer

6:30 Woke up and started to mentally organize my writing day. I need to make progress on the new novel. Some other little odds and ends, but really, I need to get back on track and write 1,000 words a day on this thing or I’ll never finish it. I was stuck completely a week and a half ago, so I picked up a picture book and got a critique on it from Suz Blackaby who has a sharp eye and a ton of experience writing for beginning readers. She showed me how the story would work better as an easy chapter book. She was right on the money, and I blazed through half of it in a week. So now I’m wondering if it’s crazy to try and write a chapter book and a novel at the same time. What if chapter books are even harder to sell than picture books? Send an email to my agent about where I should be spending my energy.

7:00 Teenager off to school. Get dressed. Check email. Sign field trip forms. Braid hair. Walk to the bus stop. Chat with the neighbor about whether or not to cut down a tree that shades both our driveways. Vote for keeping the tree.

8:15 Quiet house at last! Appalling chaos in the kitchen. Devote an hour to breakfast, newspaper, laundry and the messy kitchen. I should really be writing first thing because I know that if I don’t get 500 words in before lunch, I’ll never get to 1,000. But you know Sudoku is a lot of fun and I’m fast at those.

9:00 Okay, now that my kitchen is not quite so frightening, I really need to get down to business. 5 minutes of book keeping, 10 minutes of coordinating the family schedule for the week over the phone with my husband. The usual run around with dance, music and scouts, but only one really tricky day in which I have to get myself across the river to give a lecture at Washington State University when I really should be bringing my kids home from dance. 15 more minutes in which I realize that the bathroom is even messier than the kitchen, and do a little something about that. This could go on all day….so

9:40 Pack up computer and go to the library where they have quiet rooms! Thank you Multnomah County!

12:00 Resurface in a complete daze as someone is tapping on the quiet room door. Unfortunately, they have a 2 hour limit. Fortunately, I worked through and rewrote entirely the first two chapters of the novel. What had seemed kind of iffy a week and a half ago is actually going to work just fine.

12:15 Stop at Baker & Spice for tea and a lunch tart with spinach, tomato and cheese. Yum. Check email. Lovely message from my agent. Of course I can write an easy chapter book. Flexible is good! He sold an easy chapter series a week ago! No problem. This is why a good agent is golden. No way do I have time to figure out the chapter book market, and since Steve has done that already, I don’t have to.

12:30 Back to working on the novel in the warm and wonderful smelling Baker & Spice. About 250 words into new work for the day, a different solution to the plot arc occurs to me. Stop writing and chart out that story line. This could work. It’s better by far than what I was thinking of before. This plot arc has a tall fir tree in it just like the one that my neighbor and I were talking about this morning. It ties in perfectly with that raven who showed up on the page for no reason two weeks ago. Funny how often story making works out this way. Email a person I know who worked with wild birds about some questions I’d need answered if I pursue this story line.

2:30 Save the afternoon’s work and head home.

3:00 Catch up on email. Fix a snack. Make Dinner. Begin writing this post. Check mailbox. Let the chickens out into the yard. Laundry.

4:00 Take the kids up to the local library to volunteer at the summer reading kick-off carnival. Send care package to my college girl for finals week.

4:45 Feel the exhaustion. Weigh the nap/caffeine option. Take a 10 minute nap and then play violin for 20 minutes. Ah, so much better!

5:45 Pick kids up from volunteering and drop them off at dance. How did it get to be 6:00 and I haven’t gotten any exercise yet? Weigh the eat chocolate/take a hike option. Choose both.

7:00 Poured down rain on my hike. Feeling damp and grubby. But the forest was full of wild roses so I’m also feeling pretty chipper. Bet I could still get my 1,000 words if I work at it. Only 762 left to go. How hard can that be?

7:55 Pretty hard. 574 words to go.

8:00 Pick kids up from dance. Supper. Homework. Chores. Piano and violin duets (my favorite thing!) Showers. Reading out loud-- Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett—so funny.

10:00 Really should get back to work. Would much rather browse my friends’ blogs. And I should really update my own website. And we’re out of milk AGAIN. Grrr. On the other hand, my high schooler finished all his homework and folded everybody’s laundry! I completely forgive him for drinking a whole gallon of milk in one day. Maybe I’ll just finish the scene I was in the middle of when I had to pick up the kids.

10:50 Got sidetracked with lesson plans for a school visit in June but that was pretty important, too, so I’m glad I got it sorted out. Now back to that scene I was working on earlier.

12:20 Only 827 words today and that scene isn’t really going anywhere. Rats. I fail at this with alarming regularity and the only thing that actually convinces me that I am a writer is that I’m eager to get back to work tomorrow.

Posted by Rosanne Parry

1 comment:

  1. I could picture it all happening! I'm sure you'll find more time today when you don't have to write it all down!